| Nov. 14, 2005
What's New -- Products and Services
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you floats for all Cessna 172s, panel design software for experimental aircraft, a new Husky aircraft and much more.
If you know of a new product or service other AVweb readers should hear about, please send us a note.
Wipaire Floats for all Cessna 172s
All models of the Cessna 172 can now be floated on Wipaire's Wipline floats. Wipaire has received Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for the addition of straight or amphibious floats for all Cessna 172 aircraft ever built (less the military and Franklin engine models). In addition, the STCs allow owners to use any 180 hp conversion and specify numerous options for propellers, both constant-speed and fixed pitch. The STCs are applicable to 172 aircraft with 150, 160, and 210 hp engines as well.
Wipaire has used two models of floats to attain all the certifications. Wipline 2100 floats are now available for many Cessna 172 models, F172 models and the 175, with varying engine and propeller combinations and gross weights starting at 2220 lbs and ranging up to 2400 lbs. The larger Wipline 2350 floats, with a buoyancy of 2570 lbs, accommodate the remaining 172 models, P172Ds, F172 models, and the 175 series, here again with model-specific propeller and engine combinations, providing gross weights from 2450 lbs up to 2550 lbs.
Wipaire manufactures floats for many aircraft types, including Aviat Husky, Piper Cub, de Havilland Beaver/Otter and Twin Otter, as well as the Cessna 170/172/175/180/182/185/206 and the turbine-powered Cessna 208 Caravan, to name a few.
For more information visit the Wipaire Web site.
Crash Pad Service
A crash pad is not a device to cushion a plane during or after a crash landing. It is a "home away from home" for flight crew who are not being put up in a hotel by their airline.
New airline pilots and flight attendants who are on reserve or whose "base" is nowhere near their home often need a place to stay just for a night or two at a time, so they can be ready to go when the airline calls.
A new Web site has been developed to match up people who need a place to crash with those who have rooms to rent. CrewCommute has a sophisticated database system to help crew members find a place near their airport base.
The service is free for flight crews to search for available rooms. Update: As of Feb. 2006, there is a fee to post available rooms.
Sporty's Updated Instrument Course
Sporty's Instrument Rating Course on interactive DVD has been re-edited and digitally remastered with new content. This course explains the latest changes in technology and regulations, using new graphics and animations. It will prepare you for all three of your tests: the written, oral and flight tests. Every task within the Practical Test Standards (PTS) is cross-referenced to where that subject can be found in the course.
Sporty's course also goes beyond the checkride, with expanded in-flight footage demonstrating real IFR flying. This updated course includes comprehensive explanations of GPS equipment and RNAV approaches. Segments on glass cockpits and leading-edge avionics have also been added.
Sporty's Instrument Rating Course retains the popular features of the original course such as interactive FAA test questions with answers and explanations, along with real-world Air Facts segments with Richard L. Collins. Additionally, "Closer Look" segments highlight specific subjects, providing important background information.
You can try out the course by ordering Volume One for free. The full course is available for about $230 and may be ordered at or by calling Sporty's Web site.
Experimental aircraft builders have the joy and challenge of creating an instrument panel just the way they like it. An online program -- ePanel Builder --has been developed to aid the process of laying out a customized panel.
The ePanel Builder design module will guide you through the design and building process with as little or as much help as you like. Design and build your own panel, or work with one of their experienced avionics techs to build a custom, turn-key panel. There are panel templates for over 120 different experimental aircraft.
The new panel design tools allow you to:
- Design and save multiple versions of your custom panel with precision rulers and alignment tools;
- Upload your own panels, consoles and instruments for addition to the ePanel Builder;
- View your designs with different custom colored panels; and
- Keep things in check with a running total of weight, current draw and cost
Once you have created the perfect panel for your aircraft you can utilize tools for building your panel on your own by downloading full-sized templates (for cutting your panel on your own), complete equipment list, and full-size instrument images. You can also browse the online catalog to find the best prices on the latest instruments, avionics, supplies and tools required to complete your panel
The program only works with Internet Explorer version 5.0 and newer. To try it out, visit the ePanel Builder Web site.
"93 Seconds to Disaster" Book
Reviewed by AVweb's Kevin Lane-Cummings
The job of the FAA is to promote aviation safety and to encourage and develop civilian aeronautics -- an "economic" influence that some say interferes with its safety duties. The NTSB, on the other hand, is all about safety: investigating accidents and promoting ways to reduce them. But government watchdogs question the independence of even that organization.
When American Airlines Flight 587 crashed just after departing JFK airport in November, 2001, the accident investigation teams jumped to work as they always do. The conclusion from the NTSB was that the probable cause of the accident was, "The in-flight separation of the vertical stabilizer as a result of the loads beyond ultimate design that were created by the first officer's unnecessary and excessive rudder pedal inputs."
Captain Brian Power-Waters has assembled an extensive evaluation of the accident and the investigation into its causes, and is convinced that undue blame has been placed on Flight 587's first officer.
Captain Power-Waters' new book, 93 Seconds to Disaster, has chapters covering the chronology of the pilots and the flight, information about large-aircraft upsets, an evaluation of use of composites for aircraft, pilot training and a review of the abilities and pressures put on NTSB investigators.
Using a mixture of official reports and his own interviews and eyewitness accounts, Captain Power-Waters has created a very readable book that puts a new perspective on the accident that, he says, should have changed how airliners are made and how pilots are trained.
You can order the book from Captain Power-Waters' Web site.
Approach System's APIC Update
Approach Systems Corporation has released the third generation of its Approach Integrated Cockpit (APIC) Software. The latest release combines the power of advanced "glass cockpit" functionality with the latest in satellite weather and GPS navigation for handheld, tablet, laptop, and panel-mounted systems.
APIC is a complete package with a feature set that is both easy to use and reliable. Additionally, weather functionality is integrated into APIC and is not an add-on.
APIC features include:
- Primary flight display
- Moving map
- 2D terrain depiction
- Terrain awareness and avoidance
- VNAV -- vertical lookahead terrain
- HSI and VOR indicators
- Satellite weather imagery and integration with the moving map including TAF, METAR, radar, lightning strikes, Airmets, Sigmets, and TFR information (requires XM WxWorx Bluetooth or USB and subscription);
- Nearest ATIS
- Flight plans and flight planning including go-to.
- Airport search function including restaurant and self-serve fuel indicators
- Simulation function for on-the-ground familiarity and flight planning
- GPS altimeter
- Airspeed indicator
- Satellite connection indicator
APIC is updated throughout the year to improve performance and functionality. APIC customers get the latest software updates, assuring that they can take APIC with them every time they fly as either a primary or backup device.
APIC is downloadable at the Approach Systems Web site for either purchase or 30-day evaluation. APIC is available for $195, including one year of 28-day updates.
PS Engineering PMA8000B Update
PS Engineering has added value and utility to the PMA8000 audio panel by installing a utility interface on the front of the unit and by adding Smart Function Keys, allowing pilots to customize their audio panel.
The front-mounted, 2.5-mm, multipurpose jack will give pilots access to their audio panel by allowing connection of a cell phone, portable music devices, or audio announcements directly into the audio panel.
When the utility jack is used as an entertainment input, the music is directed to the crew, and PS Engineering's patented SoftMute functions normally. The jack also is a convenient way to connect a cellular telephone. When connected to a telephone and the pilot pushes the "TEL" button on the PMA8000B, the "Du-tel" system goes online: Anyone who is on the intercom is on the phone, taking advantage of the ISO, ALL and Crew Isolation intercom modes. (Cellular telephone use in flight is not permitted, but remains a convenient and safe way to contact air-traffic control or a weather briefer while on the ground.)
Several audio panel configurations are available using the Smart Function Keys (SFK). The music source from the front jack or from a panel mounted music device can be directed to all persons on the intercom, or the second music can be activated in crew, or, the dual inputs can be independent. A another function is that the front utility jack or rear-input music can be directed to all intercom positions regardless of the intercom mode.
Yet another SFK function is the ability to default the front panel jack to act as an unswitched input, perfect for audio alert signals.
PS Engineering's Internal Recording System (IRS) is now included as standard equipment, allowing pilots to play back messages, eliminating the need for the pilot to request "say again," or assure themselves that the last radio call was for them. Up to 16 messages can be recorded and played back in sequence.
List price on the PMA8000B is under $2000, including the IRS. For more information visit the PS Engineering Web site.
Aviat Aircraft Husky A-1B200 Certified
Aviat Aircraft has completed FAR Part 23 certification requirements for the Husky A-1B200, which is equipped with a fuel-injected, IO-360 Lycoming engine rated at 200 horsepower. The powerplant includes dual exhaust and dual oil coolers that are kept cool through a new cowl flap. This makes it possible to climb from sea level to 10,000 feet at best rate of climb, without any cooling issues.
While at 10,000 feet the A-1B200 will continue to climb at 300 fpm above the climb rate for the standard 180 hp Husky. The new 200-hp model features a 210-cm MT Composite propeller. The aircraft has already been certified for tundra tires up to 31 inches in diameter and will soon complete flight testing for floats and skis.
At 7,500 feet the A-1B200 is eight knots faster than the standard Husky. The speed range for this model is 45 mph to 145 mph. It has a maximum initial rate of climb of 1,700 fpm at gross weight at sea level and has a 700-mile range. The aircraft has the new, extended flaps, and high performance ailerons that are dynamically balanced, eliminating the need for spades and which increases the roll rate by 50 percent.
Aviat Aircraft manufactures three models of the Husky, the Pitts Special and kits for the Eagle biplane. For more information visit the Aviat Aircraft Web site.
Avidyne Entegra Enhancements
Avidyne Corporation has updated the software for their Entegra EXP5000 primary flight display (PFD) and EX5000 multifunction display (MFD) that adds new safety and performance features.
For the EXP5000 PFD, Release 6.0 adds such features as flight director capability, selectable "wedge" or "flying W" aircraft symbol, v-speed labels on the airspeed indicator, heading tick marks on the artificial horizon, enhanced autopilot mode annunciations on the PFD, and the ability to select and display ADF bearing on the HSI's bearing pointer.
For the EX5000 MFD, Release 6.0 expands the list of XM WX datalink weather products to include TAFs (terminal area forecasts), winds aloft, freezing levels, NEXRAD cell movement, and hail alerts. Release 6.0 also enables pilots to update their Jeppesen NavData and CMax chart databases using compatible USB flash drives, eliminating the need for the Zip Drive portable data loader. The flash drive can also be used to download EMax engine log data from the EX5000.
The Entegra Flight Director displays Command Bars on the EXP5000 attitude indicator and is driven by the aircraft's STEC55X autopilot, which automatically computes flight path profiles based on the autopilot mode. If the pilot chooses to hand fly the aircraft, the Flight Director Command Bars give the pilot visual cues to fly specific altitudes, descents, climbs, headings, routes, or approaches with increased precision. With the Entegra Flight Director, the pilot maneuvers the plane to align the aircraft symbol with the command bars as directed. When coupled with the autopilot, it allows the pilot to visually monitor the progress of a coupled approach. The Flight Director is especially useful during instrument landing system (ILS) approaches and missed approaches.
V-Speed labels on the EXP5000's Airspeed Indicator for Vx Best Angle of Climb, Vy Best Rate of Climb, and Vg Best Glide, take the guesswork out of flying precise airspeeds during critical phases of flight. The addition of Heading Tick Marks across the EXP5000's horizon improve the pilot's ability to anticipate heading intercepts while reducing the pilot's scan area. Release 6.0 also adds advanced logic to remove the low-airspeed warning indications on the airspeed tape prior to departure and after landing.
Release 6.0 upgrades for EX5000 MFD and EXP5000 PFD are $495 for Entegra systems that are currently under warranty, and $995 for Entegra systems that are out of warranty. For Cirrus owners who want to add the optional Flight Director along with Release 6.0, the cost is $1,495 if under warranty, and $1,995 if out of warranty. Release 6.0 also includes six months of additional warranty coverage.
For more information visit the Avidyne Web site.
Robotow Portable Towbar
The Robotow Portable Towbar is a new, all-weather, electric powered unit. Weighing under 30 pounds and portable, the Robotow can be stored and transported in the Beech, Cessna, Pipers, T28s, Navions and Commanders it was designed to move around in all climate conditions.
It is available in 18V and 120V models, with a transformer that would allow for 220V power. The unit features a heavy duty knurled drive drum, a precise-control variable speed switch as well as forward and reverse drives. It is limited to aircraft wheels that do not have wheelpants.
The 18V models sell for $965 and the 120V type sells for $875. Batteries, chargers, cords and aircraft specific model adaptors are sold separately.
For more information visit the Robotow Web site or resellers such as Aircraft Spruce & Specialty.
Want more? Check out What's New from other months.
If you know of a new product or service other AVweb readers should hear about, please send us a note.